Why every summer camp should be running Facebook Ads

Is your camp using Facebook ads? If the answer to this question is no, ask yourself why. Go another level down and look at your own marketing plan and budget. Most summer camps I talk to have the same answer, which is: “We have the same marketing plan and budget that we did last year.” Simply put, change for camps is a hard thing. There are many reasons for this but in the area of marketing budgets, it’s usually because camp directors are not a marketing professionals and do not have the time and resources to invest too much time into this area. Hopefully this blog post will share some knowledge of how you should be looking at your marketing budget and the benefits to putting more $$$ into digital and social media marketing.

The global digital advertising market grew 21% to $88 billion in 2017. Year after year, digital advertising has been growing, especially with the boom of changing medias such as social media and even on-demand TV. Look at your own media consumption. How long do you spend on Instagram vs. sitting down and watching cable television? How much time do you watch cable TV vs Netflix? How long do you spend reaching a print magazine vs reading that Buzzfeed article you saw on Facebook? Review how you and your camp’s parents are viewing media content and get your camps advertising in front of them there. The easier, impactful and measurable way to do this is running Facebook ads!

Unlike print marketing, digital marketing provides clear data for you to see what is working and what is not working with your marketing efforts. With print marketing, you might be doing something like putting up posters around your YMCA or community center and hoping that people see it and contact you for more information. That is just not how the world works anymore...Sadly, people sit on their sofa watching Netflix whilst they scroll on Facebook. This is where you ads need to be placed. With this you can see how many people saw you ad on their social media feed, how many times they clicked on it, and how much it cost you per a click.

When I run ads for camps, I send a report at the end of the ad’s duration informing the camp director of what they are getting for their money. I also look at the data and suggest some changes for the next ad. In reviewing many of these reports, I have made some observations. For instance, I have found that 30-45 second videos have a much higher click through then still photos. By making the small change of changing the media with a post from photo to video, you can make sure you are getting the most for your money. I normally say camps should try it and look at the results and data in order to make decisions going forward. But being able to see where and how your money is going is powerful and an important distinction between print and online advertising.

If you haven’t used Facebook business before, just log in with your Facebook login and start playing around. When I first started to learn, I just watched YouTube videos for a day and then ran some ads and learnt from there.

One of the other great things with running Facebook ads is being able to target your audience in many different ways. Let me explain with an example of a high end music summer camp. Part of the marketing plan is running weekly ads during high times of registration. I worked with them to define a perfect target audience. First, we considered the physical location of the audience members. You may be a small camp which pulls campers all from the same city or you might pull camps from all over the country or even world. This music camp pulls campers from all over the country. So I targeted 10 of the largest cities in the states as the location. Then, we considered the fact that their camper program age is 9 years old to 18 years old. You are able to target JUST parents in Facebook Ads, but also further define your target audience is parents with kids within an age group. Ultimately, I targeted parents who have kids aged 9 to 18 years old within 10 of the largest cities in the States.

Within this group I also targeted parents who have a BA or higher. Okay, so I have targeted highly-educated, parents but I want to target parents who have an interest in my music summer camp. So, for our final criteria, we targeted parents with an interest or hobbies and activities in the following: arts, music, drums, performance arts or singing.

The power of having all of Facebook’s data to target your audience is crazy, and you should 100% be using it.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post and got some ideas about your camp’s marketing plan and using Facebook ads. If your camp is interested in running social media ads and would like TSCS to help, send me an email to setup a time to talk.